“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, not the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”

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Charles Darwin

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Well. Survival. A topic we all care about.

This quote should make everyone think about Life as well as with their business. I love this quote mostly because those with ‘brawn’ scoff at those with ‘brains’, and vice versa, when survival (and that doesn’t have to mean life & death but rather success or failure) is being played out.

Regardless of the side someone is on both brawn & brain believe they have the advantage regardless of the situation in terms of survival.

But. Chuck (as Darwin was called to his closest friends) suggests you don’t have to be the sharpest knife in the drawer nor do you have to be the strongest tool in the drawer to survive. You just have to be flexible. Responsive to what is happening. Have a willingness to adapt to the situation.

Flexibility is certainly an advantage if you have the desire to succeed at anything you do (ask any coach). We all face times when we have to deal with situations that do not “fit in” to our routine or our ‘comfort zone.’ I say “tough noogies” (not sure exactly what that means, but I bet you get the point).

Adapt or die.

Just ponder. One of the most frustrating things in life is when you have done your best and yet things still go wrong. Or maybe you didn’t get to where you wanted to get to (what you were ultimately aiming for).

You have to be flexible.

You have to adapt.

You have to have the ability to fit into a changed situation … or … to modify your behavior & actions accordingly to fit the changed situation.

And if you don’t? If instead you stubbornly hold on to some things that don’t work, and stubbornly repeat mistakes (because it matches best practices or “what worked in that past) this inflexibility will cause failure (or simply not reaching what it is you were aiming for which is a derivative of some type of failure). By the way, in other words, continuous behavior along those lines means you will not survive.

Ultimately you have to decide to do things differently to experience different results.

Easy? Nope. It can be uncomfortable. It can be emotionally draining.

We know that when we are asked to change again and again, the physical and psychological reaction, which is actually excessive stimulation to the system, puts our ability to adapt under massive strain. All the change produces stress and carries with it a physical and emotional price tag. The more radical the change — the bigger the price tag.

Excessive stimulation has at least three levels: sensory, cognitive and decisional. To help us function <or survive>, each of us has developed strategies, or destimulation tactics, to lower the level of stimulation when we feel uncomfortably close to the limits of our adaptive range. We use these tactics every day, often unconsciously. Yet. By becoming conscious of them we can increase their effectiveness. By examining our own responses to overstimulation we can learn ways of consciously influencing change. We can begin by influencing small events, then expand our influence to larger patterns of experience. All these mental tactics are designed to detach from the shit … and rise above all that you are today so that you can be the best you can be tomorrow.

To do all of this you need to be aware. You need to not only be prepared to recognize when change needs to occur (typically there is a threshold on where you need to stop fighting the change or risk falling so far behind you cannot catch up or just be ‘eliminated’ at that time … oh … that survival thing) but you also need to be ready to change.

Look. Everyone has the capability to change. In fact I have a nifty chart which shows how most people accept & accommodate change.

Its pretty simple but shows that we need to work through the different levels of response to effect change. I would imagine there are several points to be made but here are the two from me:

–          you learn as you move through each phase at each point actually changing how you think about future problems/challenges to further change

–          you can get stuck anywhere in any phase at any time (the nifty chart actually helps show how easy it is to NOT change because you get stuck somewhere).

So. As change is introduced to you & your life you are forced through all four levels. I would imagine the last conclusion would be to attain the fourth level as quickly as possible.

Anyway. Survival, and change, pretty much always depends on the most basic first step – believe that you are able to make the changes.  And take the first step.

Without that? You have the thought, but no action.

And the result of no action? Lack of survival again.

All that said. I tend to believe a lot of people will read the Darwin quote and seek to find meaning within ‘survival of the fittest’ bigger picture. I have some strange advice (coming from me).

Think small my friends.

Think day-to-day.

Think “me.”

Think that survival is about adapting to the environment around you.

Think adapting means “initiating a new order of <personal> things ….”

“It must be considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things.

For the reformer has enemies in all those who profit by the old order, and only luke-warm defenders in all those who profit by the new order.

This luke-warmness arises partly from fear of their adversaries, who have the laws in their favor, and partly from the incredulity of mankind, who do not truly believe in anything new until they have had an actual experience of it”.

Machiavelli

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Bottom line.

sometimes they change turning the pageAlways think about how can you adapt.

By the way, I am not suggesting (and I believe Chuck Darwin wasn’t either) 100% change to adapt (although some situations demand it). Successful change typically begins by pinpointing anchors of stability (one you either have or can develop) which help to make the transition change not only viable, but more likely successful for you.

Regardless. Make change your constant companion and friend.

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Written by Bruce